The Future Was Present

Thursday marked BYU's final spring practice before the annual Blue-White game this Saturday. On hand for the proceedings were incoming Cougars Matangi Tonga and Harvey Unga. The pair stopped by to get a feel for what life will be like for them come August.

Although BYU's defensive line made great strides this spring, they are still in need of more depth and talent. One of the incoming players who is expected to help shore up the front was on campus Thursday. Aragon High School's Matangi Tonga is in town to check out his future teams and to see his brother Manase Tonga play in the spring game tomorrow.

"I've been following the D-line group the whole time, and I've got a good feel for how the D-linemen work out here," said Tonga. "When ever they were huddling up, I was checking them out as well as the inside receivers and running backs. I think the running backs got it the easiest out there."

Tonga enjoyed watching the offense and defense go through a light scrimmage situation. Although Manase did not practice on Tuesday due to a minor bruise on his knee, he did suit up for the final day of spring where Matangi got to watch him run and catch a few balls out of the backfield.

"He was looking good out there," chuckled Tonga. "I never had a chance to play against him, so it will be fun to be playing on defense against him. I'm excited.

"It is a little faster than in high school, but I think I can get used to it. I just felt really excited to be out here. Seeing all these guys running around playing football has made me want to play."

While on campus, Tonga also had the opportunity to speak with some of the BYU coaches and got some early tips from his future position coach Steve Kaufusi.

"I got a chance to talk to and said hi to all the coaches," said Tonga. "I mostly talked to Bronco [Mendenhall] about how it's going to be up here. He talked to me about the expectations here at BYU. I spent a lot of time with Steve. He was trying to teach me about the defensive formations and stuff like that to help me get ready.

"I plan on coming out here and doing my best to contribute right away. I turn 19 in January and then I'm going to leave and serve my two year mission, and then come back here and finish up."

BYU running back recruit Harvey Unga joined Tonga as a sepctator yesterday. The Timpview High School graduate is eager to be done with his greyshirt after watching his future teammates run through their final day of spring practice.

"I'm excited to get back," said Unga. "I've been lifting weights and trying to get big and not eat too much. I'm at 230 right now. I'll lose some of that though before fall practice starts. Coach Omer has me come during practices and stuff to get my workouts in, so I do it with him and some of the guys that are on the team already. Then I run after all the workouts and stuff.

So what was his impression of the running back group following the day's event?

"We're stacked man," said Unga. "The running backs are stacked and it's going to be tough trying to figure out a spot where I'll be, but you just gotta come out here and compete. Hopefully I can come out here and compete."

Also on the sidelines was Justin Padron, the middle linebacker for Texas 5A state champion Southlake Carroll High School. Padron was teammates with freshman wide receiver McKay Jacobson last fall.


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